Good Lyrics: We Never Change

We Never Change
by Coldplay

I want to live life and never be cruel.
I want to live life and be good to you.

And I want to fly and never come down.
And live my life and have friends around.

We never change, do we? no, no
We never learn, do we?

So I want to live in a wooden house.

I want to live life and always be true.
I want to live life and be good to you.

And I want to fly and never come down.
And live my life and have friends around.

We never change, do we? No, no
We never learn, do we?

So I want to live in a wooden house,
where making more friends would be easy.

Oh, and I don´t have a soul to save.
Yes, and I sin every single day.

We never change, do we?
We never learn, do we?

So I want to live in a wooden house,
Where making more friends would be easy.
I want to live where the sun comes out …

Movies: The Blind Side

All right. Y’all can make fun of me all you want for loving this movie. But I loved it. And I’ve already watched it like three times. I really went in with low expectations. I mean, heart-warming movies these days are few and far between without being too cheesy to even watch or relegated to Lifetime.

But first of all, this is based on REAL PEOPLE. TRUE STORY! And it makes me feel a little less bitterness towards the army of SUV-driving upper middle class, private-school paying families in the world, because now we know at least one of those families did something amazing with their good fortune. As I’m sure many do. But I believe few would in such a personal manner. It’s a lot easier to write a check to the Red Cross (or whatever) than to adopt a child into your family and give them a new life and new opportunities.

I am also slightly biased because I really love Sandra Bullock, even though I don’t love all of her movies — but the ones I don’t like had more to do with poor scripts than her acting. She is originally from Virginia, and I really appreciated the fact that she had an extremely authentic Southern accent in this movie. Definitely a rarity in Hollywood. (I’m talking to you, Anna Paquin.)

I don’t like country music, so Tim McGraw being in this meant nothing to me. But he was pretty good! And the message is just awesome. I so admire people who are able to (and consciously choose to) alter someone else’s entire existence for the better. If only more of us had the means to do so, to compliment that desire.

Crafty Update: New Projects

My latest crafty projects have been, strangely, purely for my own personal use and enjoyment.

On a recent trip to Goodwill with Jen, we discovered the joys of pay-by-the-pound when scavenging for thrifted fabric. I found 25 pounds of good stuff, but one of the great finds was a retro-cool 100% Alpaca sweater, handmade in Peru. Too large for me to wear, but perfect for trying out this sweater hat tutorial that I’ve been pondering for months and waiting for just the right sweater. I’ve also now got six awesome handmade ceramic buttons to use for some other project. Here’s a picture of Birdy modeling the hat for me:

She is not impressed with having anything on her head. A prime example would be the year chaos ensued when we tried to put Santa hats on her and Riley for the family Christmas photo card. Oh, we thought it would be so funny and clever until both dogs were rolling on the ground, pawing desperately at their heads, leaving shreds of red felt on the porch and our neighbor as photographer in tears of laughter while we sat by helpless in our carefully coordinated red and white outfits. Dog clothing doesn’t really work unless it’s on tiny dogs you can coerce into submission with your alpha human authority. As Riley would tell you, you don’t really coerce a 100 lb dog to do anything, and if he’s not doing it, then neither is his cousin.

However, when I asked Bird Dawg nicely to please sit still while I took the picture, she obligingly hunched her shoulders and froze for me for a few seconds. I believe the difference involved the lack of elastic chin strap. You may be able to detect a slight grimacing gritting of the teeth. The pom-pom is made from some chenille yarn I had leftover from the scarf I made last year for Coocatchoo.

The other project I just finished is a new shower curtain. I hate shower curtains. Most of my adulthood has been spent showering in tubs with nothing but a clear liner. This is mainly because I have never had a very big bathroom, and it makes the room feel less claustrophobic. Like mirrors! But I finally decided I wanted a little color in my bathroom, so I bought a cool wall tapestry on eBay for like $8, and cut it down and sewed it back together so it was the right size. A few slits in the top (because I was too lazy to make real button holes) and I had a brand new piece of apartment decor. Luckily, the fabric has a relatively open weave, so it lets enough light through that I can still see to shave my legs without too many ankle nicks.

Crafty Love!

I don’t drink much coffee, although I find it difficult to explain why, because I do like the taste. Coffee ice cream, for example, is one of my favorites. I’m just not so big on the hot drinks in general, unless it’s reeeeeeaaally cold, and I’m outside and need warming up. Then, I’d probably choose 1) Hot Apple Cider 2) Hot Black or Chai Tea 3) Coffee 4) Hot Chocolate, in order according to preference. I might drink hot drinks more often if I owned this mug, though. I love the unique shape and embellishments. $25 by Metamorphoses of Clay.

I drink wine only slightly more often than I drink hot drinks. But I could seriously become a collector of wine bottle stoppers. I really like them and the endless variations you see, but they’re one of those things you don’t buy for yourself and you don’t give as a gift because you’re afraid the recipient already has one. I don’t have any of these, so if anyone wants to help me start my collection, you’re more than welcome to enjoy the first beatifically corked bottle with me. This design looks like it would feel really nice in your hand — cool and smooth, with a nice concave middle for gripping. $25 by Wayne Willcox.

I really really really really really want a pair of these pants in every color they offer. I know it’s not the sexiest thing a girl could wear, but they look so comfortable. And now that I am over 30, I choose comfort. Oh, who am I kidding? I’ve always chosen comfort. What makes these pants even cooler (in my mind and certainly less cool in others) is that they are unisex. Soft and durable hemp linen — it’s good for the environment, and it gets better with age. Covet! $74 by Intertwined Designs.

Cheap Crap

I am the type of person who enjoys things that last a long time. You would think that everyone would be, but you would be wrong. Here is a brief list of some things I enjoy primarily when they are long lasting.

Chemical highs
*Addicts are essentially people obsessed with trying to make fleeting things last a lot longer.
Pay checks
Clean dog
Toilet paper
Light bulbs
Camp fires
Dog treats
Hippie style
Thrifted furniture
Every season except winter
Intimate conversations

Last, but not least, I enjoy it when electronics last a long time. Sadly, I’ve come to realize recently that the “cheap crap” marketing ploy is built into every affordable, tiny gadget now. I am gaining a new understanding of why people get all “retro obsessed,” and only use appliances produced prior to 1960. Because they actually work.

We live in an era when the most advanced technology ever is available to consumers in easily absorbed form, and it’s driving us to the poor house because it’s shoddy. Now when you buy a cell phone or a digital camera, you enter into the relationship already knowing that this piece of equipment has a life expectancy of two years tops. Only five or so years ago, you could buy gadgets that would last several years. Why is the quality of technology declining as we become more advanced? Is it because the mere connotation of quality implies a small run of something? And now that everything is so widely available, it has cheapened due to various bottom lines?

“Well, the only problem with this prototype is that all internal functions will cease to perform within 24 months.”

“That’s okay. That means they’ll buy the new model then.”

Maybe it’s the conspiracy theorist in me, but I tend to think it’s logical. Everything is manufactured to break within a given time frame. So you spend more money when you really shouldn’t have needed to.

I just got a  new digital camera that I had to buy because my old one broke. The new turquoise Samsung is sleek, thin, glamorous, and beautiful. She has a freaking huge screen, man. I mean, where has she been all my life?

That Kodak Z700 — it was so clunky, and the zoom was for shit. And that was before it had the problem with the battery compartment that I read on the internet is the most common symptom of its demise. Kodak’s freaking Socialist software is for old people who don’t know what drive they’re saving to or why. But “Beach,” as I”m calling her, is amazing and has granted my every techno-defficient desire. Even her user’s manual is so “green” that it’s completely digital. No book included.

I think we’re going to have a very long connection, Beach and I. I would say, best guess, at least for the next year or so. Then I might be forced to explore other options.

Movies: The Road

My favorite movie of all time is Schindler’s List. It’s saying a lot for me as a movie buff to declare one favorite at all. But as many movies as I watch, I think I keep waiting for one to affect me emotionally the way Schinder’s List did. Up until today, it never happened. But I think I may have finally found the next all-time favorite, the next Schindler’s List, in my mind.

The Road.

Spare. Human. Truth.

What kind of person are you?

That’s the essential question of this movie/book. Are you the kind of person who will do what is necessary to protect the ones you love when IT happens? Are you the type of person who would do almost anything to survive, but not anything? Are you the type of person who gives the man next to you a can of Fruit Cocktail when the end arrives? Or are you the type of person who will leave someone for dead to get what it rightfully yours? Will you stick it out until the bitter end, clawing your way to survival? Or will you decide that what’s waiting on the other side has got to be better and make the conscious decision to end your own suffering, even if that means suffering for others?

What’s beautiful about this movie is that no matter the question, one realizes that neither answer is really absolute in its morality.

One of the most common sayings in my family is, “You just do the best you can.” And this film brings new meaning to that phrase. And so it is my new favorite movie of ALL. TIME. Until further notice.

Memo to Pat Robertson from The Devil

A friend of mine posted this link on Facebook, and it is hilarious. You must go to NPR and check it out. And, in the words of John Stewart, “Shut your pie hole, old man!”

Chico’s: I Just Don’t Get It

Anyone who knows me even a tiny iota can tell you that I am not what you would call “fashionable.” I wear what is comfortable, and what looks (to my eyes) “decent.” If I could get away with it, I would wear flannel pajama pants and long-sleeve t-shirts during every waking moment. I am not really interested in fashion, and I shop for clothes primarily at Goodwill and Salvation Army — especially for work clothes, which I otherwise would not be caught dead in, and which I shed in about 30 seconds after I walk in the door at 5:00.

I get tons of compliments on my outfits at the office, and I LOVE telling people I got it at Goodwill, when their idea of a good deal is a $75 shirt from J. Jill. In fact, just last week I looked down and realized that every article of clothing I was wearing — including my shoes — came from a thrift store.

I imagine it’s easier to get away with being a thrift store fashionista somewhere like Brooklyn. But here in the South, there are still clothing commandments, like Thou Shalt Not Offend the Almighty by Wearing White After Labor Day. So it’s not quite as easy to pull off. This is something I’m having to relearn too, after moving to a rather conservative Southern city with pockets of true affluence, from ten years in the Hippie Capital of the South, where the president of one company I worked for showed up for work pretty regularly in hiking gear, and the president of another could usually not be reached in the afternoons because she was out on the tractor mowing.

Today I went shopping with a friend at “real” stores for the first time in possibly years. We went to the mall, which I desperately try to avoid. It’s mainly because I think it’s ridiculous to pay high prices for things that are poorly made by sad, destitute people in third world countries, just because someone here figured out how to market it. I am not that gullible. I mean, I work in marketing. I get it. And I no longer fall for it. I think it’s actually a really interesting commentary on our society when you start examining exactly what marketing works on us best (collectively). Even politics nowadays is just about marketing the right image to the right audience. We are a superficial culture.

For example, today I saw UGGS of Australia, which I found out are the “in thing” right now. They are these (to me) hideously ugly boots with fur lining, which conjure up images of herding reindeer in Finland. Looking at them, I thought, “I wonder if it even gets cold enough in Australia to wear fur boots.” Then I looked a little closer at the label. These $120+ shoes are made in China, just like everything else. By contrast, last week I bought a sweater at Goodwill for less than a dollar that was 100% Alpaca, handmade in Peru. It kills me that people are desperate to spend that kind of money to look like poor farmers from Arctic climes.

Then there was the GAP. I used to actually like GAP clothes. When I was in high school, I lived in a tiny town where we had nothing but a J.C. Penney. So going to the GAP (and all the big, fancy malls) when visiting my grandmother in Atlanta, ending up with school clothes that actually were not available in our entire county, was the height of cool for a teenager.

But the GAP made me sad today. It’s full of 80’s era clothing. (Apparently this is back in style now?) And I LOATHE 80’s era styles. People, it was not cool in the 80’s. What could possibly make it cool now? Everything LITERALLY looks like the majority of stuff you can still find in thrift stores, because it’s still not cool. Eighties clothes are not flattering on any body type I can think of, and they make even the cutest people look like they need a makeover.

And let’s face it, the majority of America has a body type that needs as much help as it can get (myself included). We need clothing that helps us, that works with our flaws. Not clothing that accentuates our issues. As a short person, I hate how all these clothes are made for long-waisted people, and skinny leg jeans make even girls with skinny legs look…just bad.

I was a little happy that the flaming boy who checked us out was wearing eye makeup. Even though I typically despise that look (I’m talking to you, Pete Wentz), Matt at the GAP did it very well. Brought out his eyes and did not make him look like a douche (Pete). But anyway, folks, this is why I”m not “cool.” Because I find these things hideous and outdated. I get that things come back around. And other decades had styles I find worthy of a resurgence. The 1980’s do not.

This was funny: Over Christmas, some of my cousins were making fun of me for being a hippie (they think that’s funny because they’re farm kids) and because I didn’t know what Sperry’s are. Today at the mall, I saw some! And they are effing TOP-SIDERS. They must have needed some brand name to market to all the brand-conscious tweens.

But by far, the craziest experience of my day was when we ended up at Chico’s. My friend had received a gift card for Christmas that she wanted to cash in.

Now, I know people who wear Chico’s clothing and carry it off really well, looking insanely fabulous and stylish. (Granted, none of them are under 40.)  Both my aunt and my Nana (age 85) love the Chico’s and wear it well. And I definitely think of both of them as people who have good taste in general.

My Nana’s got some rad acid-washed jeans from there with rhinestones on the back pockets that she wears with her little sweater sets and kitten heels, and she is like the most fashionable 85 year old you will ever meet. Never without coordinating jewelry. Add a pair of cat-eye reading glasses (which she only puts on when ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY) and you have a picture of my awesome grandmother, whose one health issue in the last 20 years was falling and breaking her hip in the Atlanta airport on her way to Europe. And she still always covers her transparent coiffure with a scarf (specifically polyester and not silk — too slippery) when there is, as she calls it, “weather.”

But back to Chico’s. It’s like the strangest place on the planet. Okay, that might be a tad strong. But it is rather odd. It’s like their marketing plan is 1) Put sequins on it. 2) Jack up the price. and 3) Change the sizing so older females feel thin. There were a few things I saw that were…okay…but then you’d pull it out and it would be ruined by rhinestones. Or the $99 price tag. Or the fact that who the hell knows what size you wear when they only have 1, 2 and 3 (which doesn’t mean the same thing as 1, 2 and 3 at any other store). I finally figured out it must be their strange equivalent of S, M and L.

For the life of me, I couldn’t decide what their market niche was supposed to be. I couldn’t figure out any age group of people that their clothes seemed appropriate for. It was all a little too gaudy for really old people, but a little too matronly for middle aged people who were trying to be stylish. I was astounded to see 2 or 3 girls my age (or younger) shopping in there. Granted, they were with their moms, but they were looking at things like they were considering them personally. Everything seemed really chintzy, and even the jewelry was plasticky and yet $60 for a necklace.  Now I know why my Nana is continually sending me jewelry to repair. They had stuff hanging on mannequins that was broken already.

And most perplexing of all? The place was packed. At one point I caught my friend fanning herself and looking pained. I said to her, “Are you having a panic attack? Is it too crowded?” Not because she has them (that I know of) but because I recognized that look as stemming from true anxiety. She said, “No. It’s just that THESE CLOTHES ARE MAKING ME NERVOUS! They are so. Garish.”

And that, my friends, sums up Chico’s, I think. Oh, and the fact that “chico” means “little boy” in Spanish. I think I will leave it up to you to figure that one out. I am still working on it.  It’s a strange world we live in.

Win a Set of Recycled Map Stationery!

Local blog celeb, Esbee, at Life in Forsyth just posted her first blog contest of the year, and the prize is a set of my recycled map stationery. If you’d like to enter, hop on over to Life in Forsyth and get your creative juices flowing. Also, it’s for a good cause!

Things I Learned This Week

Carmex is a miracle product. I’m usually not one for pimping out brands, but holy crap this stuff really works! Since we’re having an ungodly cold winter this year, my lips were cracked and bleeding for the first time ever, and I tried everything to doctor myself to no avail. I tried Neosporin. I tried vitamin E. I tried 100% lanolin. Nothing was working. I googled my condition and discovered it could be all these serious things (like an iron deficiency) causing it. So I made a doctor’s appointment because I was convinced there was something really wrong with me. A coworker suggested Carmex after she experienced the same cracking issue. The stuff healed me after 3 days and I cancelled my doctor’s appointment. Also, it feels all tingly and nice, although I do not like the way my hair sticks to it if it gets blown anywhere near.

Having a cold sucks. But it doesn’t suck nearly as much if you have some good drugs with which to self-medicate. And this Alka-Seltzer Cold stuff, friends, is the bomb-diggity. In addition to making me feel just well enough to drag my ass to the office, it also produces some really rad dreams when you take it at night. For example, a couple nights ago, I dreamed I saw Jimi Hendrix live and then got trapped inside an exit-less shopping mall where people only spoke French. At some point, I opened a door I thought might be an exit, and stepped into a black-and-white, charcoal drawing of an old house, haunted by the ghost of Angelina Jolie. Who is not actually dead, but so gaunt and pale at times that she might as well be a freaking ghost.  There was also something about stealing key cards from military personnel, and tunneling secret passageways from the lockers in a locker room.

As long as I’m piled up on the couch under my patchwork quilt with my cracked lips, stuffy nose, and cuddly dog friend, I need some good TV to watch. I don’t have cable, so I’m usually about two years behind on all the good shows, which is not necessarily a bad thing, because it means I can catch up all at once online and not have to wait for the next episode. Plus, no commercials. I just discovered Fringe, which is in its second season now, and it is freaking great. How can you not love a show that involves federal agents, a mad scientist, and Joshua Jackson? J.J. Abrams, I heart you. And I’m still waiting to find my Pacey/Peter Bishop.

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